Creating high quality video content requires a good microphone. Historically we’ve always been proponents of “smartphone vlogging”, as modern smartphones usually have better cameras than dedicated point-and-shoots and even cheap DSLRs.
While companies like Rode have developed miniature microphones geared towards people who vlog on their smartphones. These typically use the 3.5mm port to clip a small microphone to your device.
You’ve probably already realized, but if you’re trying to vlog with an iPhone 7, 8, or X, you’d be out of luck. Bummer, those phones have the best camera quality on the market!
Luckily, Shure has developed an excellent little device to transform those phones into miracle vlogging machines. We’re going to be telling you all about it in this in-depth Shure MV88 Review.
The Shure MV88 is a well built, high quality microphone that fills a specific niche perfectly. If you create any sort of content for Instagram, YouTube, or Live Streaming using a mobile device, we think this microphone is a must have. It can significantly cut down on your workflow, and the increase in quality is very noticeable.
Let’s get into the specs and included features!
- 1 Features and Specifications
- 2 What We Loved
- 3 What We Didn’t Love As Much
- 4 Extra Tips To Get The Best Performance Out Of Your Shure MV88
Features and Specifications
- Frequency Response Range 20Hz-20,000Hz
- Compatible With iPhone 5 and later, iPad 4 and later, iPad pro, iPad Airs, iPad Mini 2+, and iPod Touch.
- 0 to +36 Db Adjustable Gain Range
- Weighs only 1.43 oz
- MOTIV app for optimizing and controlling recordings, sharing files
- 5 DSP presets – (Speech, Singing, Flat, Acoustic, Loud)
- 4 Polar patterns – (Adjustable Width Stereo, Mono Bidirectional, Mono Cardioid, Mid Side)
- Innovative hinge/rotation to support multiple recording angles
- Durable all-metal construction.
- Includes zippered carrying case, headphone adapter, windscreen.
Here’s a video that showcases the performance of the Shure MV88 in comparison to the built in microphone of the iPhone 7. It really blew us away.
Feel free to watch the rest of the video from 9to5Mac for a short visual review!
What We Loved
The audio quality is remarkable -the best out of any iPhone microphone device we have seen on the market. Sure, it’s not as big or directional as a proper shotgun mic, but if you’re recording vlogs on an iOS lightning device, we think this is a must-have.
Despite the small size, the construction is very ridged and the microphone feels very durable. We dropped it a few times and tossed it around and it didn’t seem to sustain any damage. Probably don’t try running it over with a truck though.
The EQ controls are great for this demographic. Having them built-in and controllable with the app means you can have your audio tweaked exactly how you like it and you can upload directly from your phone without the need to mess with the sound on a computer.
The pivoting base is great for capturing sound from any direction you need and has a very satisfying tactile response. Feels sturdy.
Finally, the required application is fairly small and has lots of useful features. We are used to companion apps being clunky, but the MOTIV app feels pretty well built and has excellent file sharing capabilities.
What We Didn’t Love As Much
We didn’t have any problems with it, but we found some reviewers complaining about having connection difficulties. Generally these issues seem to be few and far between, but do be aware that such connectivity issues will always be a problem for any phone accessories using a digital connection rather than an analog one.
It is a bit on the pricier side for sure. However, as much as we’d like to see a price reduction, the performance is the best in it’s class, and we still think it’s a good value for the money.
Finally, if you’re serious about getting the absolute best quality possible, you won’t beat a dedicated shotgun microphone. However, we figure if you feel that way, you probably shouldn’t be shooting your videos with a smartphone anyways.
Extra Tips To Get The Best Performance Out Of Your Shure MV88
If you do end up purchasing this microphone, we did a little bit of extra digging to come up with some tips to help you have the best experience possible.
1. Make sure you have a compatible case.
Because the device attaches directly to the bottom of your phone, most cases won’t be able to fit at the same time as the microphone. Try to find a compatible case, accept that you’ll have to shoot unprotected, or at the very least buy a case that is quick and easy to fit and remove.
2. Put your phone in airplane mode.
The wireless transmitters in your phone can cause a lot of interference. Using any microphone that attaches to your phone will result in interference and potentially destroy the quality of your recordings.
Flipping on airplane mode turns off these transmitters and will protect your microphone from any unwanted distortion.
3. Use the included windscreen. Also, don’t!
This is more of a general audio recording tip, but if you’re going to be shooting outdoors you definitely need to use the included windscreen. Wind noises will ruin your audio recording and defeat the purpose of even
Conversely, when you’re in an indoor environment or a studio, take the windscreen off! It does muffle the audio a little bit and you can get a clearer recording without it.
If you’re facing particularly strong gusts, this bundle includes a Rycote WindJammer which is completely windproof and performs better than the included windscreen.
4. Don’t forget about the EQ features.
Non audio-savvy users may want to just ignore the sound optimization tools in the app, but we urge you to learn them! They are there to help you get the best recording possible, which will change depending on what environment you’re shooting in.
Proper EQ selection can mean the difference between a good recording and a great one, so don’t neglect it!